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Google Home Just Got a Lot More Useful for Actual Homes

Google Home understands you — and others — a little better now.

I really like the Google Home; it’s easier to interact with than the Amazon Echo, and seems to stumble less when trying to understand what I’m saying. It also integrates with my Google Calendar and knows where my home and work are, which means I can ask it how long it’ll take for me to get into work, or what time my first meeting is.

The problem was that the Home could only use my calendar and Google-account info — my wife was left in the cold. But starting today, Google Home will allow for multiple Google accounts.

It’s a much-needed feature, and it one-ups Amazon’s Echo in one important way: The Google Home will switch between accounts simply by recognizing the sound of someone’s voice. It’s a much simpler, friendlier approach to multiple accounts.

While you can set up multiple users on your Echo, you have to manually tell Alexa to switch between profiles, and it’s easy to forget which profile you’re using. It’s not a huge deal if you play a few songs off someone else’s Spotify account, but a slightly bigger deal if you ask Alexa to buy a two-pack of Dr. Bronner’s soap on someone else’s dime.

Google Home still lags behind the Echo in a lot of important ways; there isn’t much third-party app support, and the smart-home integration is still far behind what the Echo can do. But recognizing each member of a household by voice is one differentiator — for now. I’d bet good money that Alexa catches up very soon.

Google Home Just Got a Lot More Useful for Actual Homes